East vs. West: Spare The Citizenry

Anjem Choudary, a British extremist, says the flag of Islam will fly over the White House. It never will. AP COMPOSITE PHOTO

Anjem Choudary, a British extremist, says the flag of Islam will fly over the White House. It never will. AP COMPOSITE PHOTO

I think I can say without contradiction that the heavily secular Western nations are engaged in a couple of wars with many Muslims, both foreign and domestic.

One is cultural. Those who follow strict Wahhabism feel threatened by the West’s promotion of totally free speech and personal religious practices, equality of the sexes, same-gender marriage, scanty clothing and our tendency to smirk over the Islamic practices of five prayers a day, fasting, and requiring facial and/or body covering for females.

The other is violent, jihadist. This group realizes the Golden Age of the Muslim world of the 1400s is gone, that secular forces are on the march and that only warfare is left as a form of protest over being impotent.

It’s a shame that it has come to this, but not surprising. Look at our own early history, when we had to work through the often-violent divide in the Colonies among Catholics, Protestants and Quakers.

We have a small version of a cultural war going on in America: the Christian Right trying to turn back the clock to a time of conservative moral standards and fear of God and Satan.

Meic Pearse, author of Why The Rest Hates The West, argues that most Islamists overseas believe the West is barbaric, with a lack of respect for the past, religion, family and honor, while overindulging in sports, entertainment and sex. J. Dudley Woodberry, professor of Islamic studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, tosses this in:

“Muslims seem to have a greater problem adjusting to pluralism than do other world religions. The Muslim concept of a universal divine law, which renders non-Muslims second class, makes it difficult for Muslims to adapt to other political systems.”

That jihadist war — the one being waged by al-Qaida and various extreme Islamists — is hard to understand and impossible for a Westerner like myself to have sympathy for.

Osama bin Laden said the idea of attacking buildings in the United States came to him in the ’80s when he was watching Israeli aircraft bombing tower blocks in Lebanon. Others justify suicide bombs because of our support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Me? I fail to find any justification for Islamists who strike out at the innocent on an airplane or in a building. It’s OK to dislike, even hate, some of America’s policies, but you have to limit your dislike and hatred to those policy makers and spare the citizenry — many of whom may strongly disagree with Washington policy but only can vote on changing it every four years. But it pretty much stays the same.

Then there are extremists such as Anjem Choudary (pictured here), who says, “the flag of Islam will fly over the White House” and calls on Muslims to establish Koranic law across America.

Hard to find some kind of friendly accommodation with him!